When it was discovered that indoor air quality (IAQ) played such a huge role in the health of building occupants, building service contractors embarked on a crash course to learn as much as possible about how their practices could positively influence indoor air. Indoor air is comprised of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, entryways, and the processes, materials and equipment used to clean an indoor space.

Pollen, dust and particulates invisible to the naked eye can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms in building occupants. Therefore, keeping IAQ at desirable levels is very important — and requires a certain amount of proactive intent. In addition to measures such as entryway matting and proper ventilation, one of the major ways to ensure healthy IAQ is by using vacuums with high-level filtration. An adequate vacuum filtration system will not only pick up debris but capture it as well, not letting any exhaust back out to re-pollute the indoor environment.

Many vacuums now offer HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) or ULPA (ultra low penetration air) filtration. These options became available as green cleaning came onto the industry scene, offering systems that capture particulates at a more dependable rate than conventional vacuums. The contributions these filtration systems can make to improving indoor air quality (IAQ) are very important to many building service contractors, whether they are part of a larger green cleaning platform or not.

A multistage filtration system, such as HEPA, is excellent at capturing dust and particulates that traditional vacuums can miss. HEPA filter vacuums can capture 99.9 percent of dust, pollen and other airborne particles.

Vacuums with HEPA filtration can work in tandem with products such as microfiber cloths, which pick up rather than stir up particles, green cleaning solvents and solutions that have less potent fumes, and comprehensive entryway matting systems that not only remove a great deal of dust and dirt carried into a building on people’s shoes, but also contribute to the life of flooring throughout a facility. Even if HEPA filtration is not specifically used, IAQ can be impacted by changing vacuum bags on a regular basis and cleaning or changing filters regularly as well.

Exerpted from the April 2007 issue of Sanitary Maintenance and the November 2006 and August 2007 issues of Contracting Profits.